Out Sangamon County auditor candidate Chris Boyster held a "celebration of diversity" Sept. 8 at the Boystown spot Cocktail.
Among those attending were Jacob Meister and Rick Garcia (both members of The Civil Rights Agenda) as well as Sam Yingling, an openly gay candidate for the state House (62nd District).
Talking with Windy City Times, Boyster (who is already a member of the Sangamon County Board) said, "It's about getting out the vote," adding that "we've locked about 3,500 votes." He also indicated he has bipartisan support in his bid; regarding his chances, Boyster said that he's "confident but not cocky."
Addressing the audience, Boyster said, "I must be winning this race because my opponent sent a spy on us tonight.
"This is a celebration of diversity, so I'll say this: I became Springfield's first openly gay elected official when I won my county board seat. It's not about a gay candidate; it's about supporting something that matters.
"Those of you who are over the age of 30 and members of the LGBT community probably know what it's like to grow up as a young person wondering who you are.
"I'm running this race because, yes, I want to support the taxpayers of Sangamon County; they have a right to know where their money is going and who's spending what. But this race is also about that young kid who [wonders who he is]. I was taunted at; I was teased. If someone can see that I did it, they can come through itand that's why this race matters."
Meister pointed out to WCT that if Boyster wins, he'd be the second openly gay individual in the state to hold a county-wide seat; Debra Shore of Cook County's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is currently the only out LGBT individual in that category.
Shore, state Senate President John Cullerton and state House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie were among those on the host committee.
Sangamon County has Springfield as its seat; among the many other townships in the area are Auburn, Island Grove, Woodside, Rochester and New Berlin.